If Beyonce, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Oprah and Jamie Oliver had a love child, it would be me.
That’s because I’m part creative fashionista with a soulful voice, mindfulness meditation junkie, spiritual businesswoman and leader with a side of revolutionary food fanatic who wants to see everyone benefit from eating whole, plant-based healing foods.
Born and raised in rural Nova Scotia, I grew up with two hardworking parents, who showed me how to plant a garden, make sauerkraut, milk a cow by hand (that’s right!), make bread by the age of 10 and I loved every minute of it. I grew up surrounded by nature on a self-sustainable homestead, and the lessons I’ve learnt along the way helped me to appreciate how connected we are to both our planet and to each other.
As much as my parents schooled me on the ways of sustainable living on our farm, they also value formal education and wanted me to see the world. So at 18 years old I moved to England to start my post-secondary education. A love of travel and academia were born.
Things changed dramatically for me amid the pressures of university life. I had the goal of being a doctor and pushed myself to maintain a high GPA, all while volunteering, working part-time and trying to ‘fit-in’ with my peers. The emotional stress, poor food choices and lifestyle changes left me depressed and covered with Psoriasis head-to-toe by the end of my 4th year of university. I happened to be taking a mind-body medicine course as an elective during my final semester, which introduced me to a new way of seeing the body and my disease. I had no idea how this course would change the trajectory of my life.
After months of light therapy and topical steroid use in an attempt to try and clear my skin, nothing seemed to work. I reached rock bottom and set out to find an alternative way of healing myself.
I found that alternative while traveling the world with a singing group after I graduated from my undergraduate. Unbeknownst to me, I had begun my healing journey; 3 months into an overseas music tour my psoriasis was gone. I had not done anything but simply started to take better care of myself, sing and meditate. No steroids or light therapy needed – just a whole lot of connecting with my authentic self, listening to my intuition (aka my soul wisdom), and learning to love myself for the first time in my life. This dramatic healing steered my interests in the direction of mind-body medicine and I went on to graduate with a masters degree and then pursued a degree in Naturopathic Medicine.
It was when I was finishing my degree and starting my Naturopathic career when my life changed again and my autoimmune condition returned. I was newly married, a new mom, new business owner and I was completely overwhelmed with all the changes in my life but tried to keep it all together. In doing so I neglected myself and my own needs. My psoriasis returned and within a few months I was covered head to toe again with scaly painful plaques. I was under a tremendous amount of stress trying to keep up with the demands of family life, caring for my new baby and also building a business.
It was just after my son’s 2nd birthday when it all caught up to me. At that point I had had psoriasis covering my body for almost 2 years. In some ways, although I was trying to heal myself by taking supplements, changing my diet and working on my gut health, I wasn’t truly listening to what my body was saying. It’s almost like being covered with psoriasis and being in constant pain wasn’t enough to wake me up – my body had to scream louder at me to get my attention.
And so it did.
One evening as I was sitting on the sofa with my 2 year old son, I began to feel pain in my chest. I had had heart palpitations for the last month or so but kept ignoring them because I ‘didn’t have time’ to slow down; I was under enormous pressure from my business partner to keep up and I didn’t want to say ‘no’ to others for fear of creating conflict.
But my body said no, it said no in a big way!
As I sat there on the sofa with my 2 year old on that fateful night I felt like I was having a heart attack. I called 911 and was rushed to the emergency room as my son and husband watched as I was loaded into an ambulance. It was then and there that I decided I had had enough and I was changing my life.
And so I did. I radically changed my life.
I learned how to put myself first in a healthy way. I learned a whole new level of self-love and what it meant to make my self-care a priority. My husband and I made some dramatic changes about how we wanted to live our lives for the better including packing up our family and moving from Toronto, Canada to Turks and Caicos. I left the business situation that was causing me tremendous stress, left behind toxic relationships that drained my energy and started to put my body and my life back together.
I did this by making lifestyle choices that empowered my body to heal itself, my mind to find peace and my soul to shine. I got still and connected with my intuition – my soul wisdom – and let it lead the way.
This time around the healing is slower, but I know it is lasting. My psoriasis acts as a daily reminder for me to check-in with myself and ask my inner soul wisdom to show me where I need a little TLC or tweak in my self-care. I’ve come to see my autoimmune condition as a gift – one that has granted me more wisdom and more opportunity to love myself than having clear skin could have ever granted.
Do you feel worn out? Stressed out? Struggling with an illness? Are you tired of putting everyone else’s needs and opinions before your own and watching your life pass you by without feeling fulfilled?
I’m here to tell you that you have the power to change your life.
If I can do it, so can you.
So what do ya say? Wanna kick-start your own wellness revolution starting today?
Let’s do it!
Dr. Maryska Taylor, BScKin, MTS, ND graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Canada. She is licensed through the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta and is a professional member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Dalhousie University and a Masters of Theological Studies from McMaster University. She has been a DONA-trained doula since 2008 and offers her Naturopathic Doula services to her patients as part of her pre- and post-natal care. She also holds a license to practice Naturopathic Medicine in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos where she currently resides with her husband and son.